6 Ways a Farmer Can Market Cucumbers

Cucumber plants can produce a lot, so you might find yourself with a surplus. Here are alternative ways to sell your cucumbers.

by Jesse Frost
PHOTO: Jessica Spengler/Flickr

If you grow cucumbers for sale, chances are that you have more than you need. That is just the nature of the cucumber plant, which can be one of the most prolific crops in the summer garden.

When faced with abundance, it’s good for farmers to examine all the ways to sell cucumbers—because there are a lot. It is easy to get in a rhythm of simply selling them the way you always have, but if you need to move a lot of cucumbers, let’s look at some alternative options.

1. In Containers & Packages

Sometimes customers simply want an easy purchase. So where a giant pile of cucumbers sold by the pound might appeal to one customer, another might walk by it. Separating your cukes into individually priced containers, however, can be a great way to make a quick sale or even a cucumber sale that might not have occurred. A lot of larger growers package their cucumbers individually. Though perhaps a large waste of plastic, it can help preserve shelf life, keeping your cucumbers making money long after they are gone.

2. By Weight

The option above doesn’t negate this one—a pile of cucumbers sold by weight has many advantages. First, piles of cucumbers are a great way to make your market table look bountiful. And bounty is something that market customers love—it attracts them to the table. Plus, some customers simply want to buy a specific amount of cucumbers, which might be more or less than what you have pre-portioned in the above example. Having a mix of options can provide a nice incentive to either type of customer.

3. Individually

If you have a uniform crop of cucumbers, selling them individually at a price that makes sense for you and your market can be a successful and easily understood market strategy for the customer. For instance, 75 cents each or three for $2 (depending on your market) can increase sales and volume.

4. To Chefs

Selling cucumbers to chefs, you might simply sell the size that you have. Then again, the chef might show you just what size he or she wants, then you pick them right at that stage. Some chefs are more particular about this depending on their plans for the crop, but when picking for restaurants that demand a niche item, you can (and probably should) generally charge more for the effort.

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5. For Pickling

Remember that some people love small, pickling cucumbers. So when your crop is out of hand choose small cukes for pickling and sell them however fits your market. I like doing this in berry containers, as long as the smaller cukes are priced well enough to make up for the lost profit of a fully grown cucumber.

6. Value Adding

Of course, access to a commercial kitchen would allow you to create pickles of your own as well as pre-made salads, cucumber water, crudités or any range of cucumber-related products to manage their bounty and provide additional value to this prolific crop.

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